What will America look like at mid-century?  US 2050, an initiative of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and the Ford Foundation, will examine and analyze the multiple demographic, socioeconomic, and fiscal trends that will shape the nation in the decades ahead. Engaging leading scholars in the areas of demographics, poverty studies, labor economics, macroeconomics, political science, and sociology, US 2050 will create a comprehensive view of our economic and fiscal future – and the implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans.

Project Description

In the coming decades, a transformational wave of foreseeable demographic changes will create a new American tapestry. Social, economic, and technological changes will reshape the domestic and global economy, and the nation’s fiscal condition will face increasing challenges resulting from a range of factors, including an aging society and a structural mismatch between spending and revenues. These interconnected trends will have significant, but not yet fully understood, implications for the social and financial well-being of Americans. US 2050 will explore these issues and their link to the country’s fiscal and economic health. 

The project’s goal is to foster a clearer vision of America’s future and spur a sense of urgency to address pressing policy concerns, thereby laying the groundwork for better outcomes. In 2050, today’s newborn will be entering her prime working years, and one out of every four of today’s 65-year olds will still be living. All of us have a stake in the trends that will unfold in coming decades.

The project will engage leading scholars and provide grants to support research. The insights and learnings gained from the new work will be shared at gatherings that will bring together authors of papers, academic and substantive experts, and, ultimately, policy leaders.

A distinguished Advisory Committee is guiding the project, bringing valuable expertise across the key research disciplines. The Committee is coordinated by the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution, and will assist with the framing of research questions, selection of successful proposals and the review of submitted papers. 

Research Topics and Questions

Scholars from multiple disciplines responded the project’s two call for papers. In its broadest form, our main question is this:

How do the changing demographics of America – including aging, race, ethnicity, and other factors – affect the future fiscal and economic health of the nation, and what are the best policies to prepare for and respond to the challenges and opportunities that this future presents?

Papers will go beneath the national median and aggregate trends to examine differences and similarities of sub-groups in the population and examine how our changing demographics intersect with our changing economy.

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